Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/44464
- Quintus Curtius Rufus on the ''good king': the Dioxippus episode in book 9.7.16-26
Baynham, E. J.
- The University of Newcastle. Faculty of Education & Arts, School of Humanities and Social Science
- In 325 BCE a small but nasty incident occurred at a banquet celebrating Alexander the Great's acceptance of the surrender of two Indian tribes, the Malli and the Sudracae (Kśudraka in Sanskrit). According to Quintus Curtius, the symposium also marked Alexander's recovery from a wound that had almost killed him during the army's assault on a Sudracan fortress (9.5.9-27). The Macedonian soldiers had taken such savage reprisals against the town that despite the Sudracan envoys' proud declaration that they were yielding with their "power still unimpaired" (9.7.13), it is clear that their submission was the result of the mass indiscriminate slaughter they or, according to Arrian (Anab. 6.8.11), their Malli neighbors had suffered at the hands of the Macedonian invaders. In Curtius' text (9.7.15) Alexander ordered a hundred golden couches set up, hung with splendid tapestries rich in purple and gold - colors that the Indian envoys themselves had worn to their submission. But the symposium which was meant to commemorate two peoples' acknowledgment of a new overlord and his generosity resulted in the death, in shameful circumstances, of one of Alexander's courtiers, the famous Athenian pancratiast Dioxippus. This man was a historical character, an Olympian champion of his day, and a celebrity in his own right, "who had been victorious in the foremost games" (Diod. 17.100.3; see Heckel 2006: 115; Bosworth 1996: 115, with n. 78; Whitehead 2000: 79 with n. 113, 80-82). While drawing analogous parallels between our own and the ancient world is invariably tricky and questionable, it would be a little like having a high-profile athlete like Lord Sebastian Coe commit suicide at 10 Downing Street - a tragedy in itself, and embarrassing for the prime minister concerned, but with any damaging repercussions no doubt contained by the advisors of "spin."
- A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography Volume II p. 427-433
- Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World
- Blackwell Publishing
- Resource Type
- book chapter